For yesterday’s workshop I brought in three sketches of music and video, each portraying the first thoughts of what will end up as independent movements of “New York City Symphony.” I was hoping to get a sense of how well the audiovisual combinations worked and a general feel for the orchestration. But only seconds after the first downbeat it was apparent that this was information overload. How could I possibly pay attention to so many things at once? My orchestration was full of miscalculations. I couldn’t hear the thematic material in the oboe. The percussion was too thick. The strings were buried beneath the brass. Then in a few moments it was done. I don’t think I even watched the video. In my semi-bewildered state I looked over to the mentor composers and to my relief, they were right on top of everything. Derek and Morton delivered their gut reactions one at a time. We made some changes and started again. The video was in nearly perfect synch, the orchestra balanced out a bit, and I looked beside me in the audience to see a group of elementary school music students beaming at the projection screen. That brought some relief.
I have loads of feedback to process, not only regarding orchestration but also impressions on the filmmaking. For the next workshop I plan to bring new movements that will sound very different from what I have so far. I also hope to introduce a new level of narrative with some actors and dancers.